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Why

Currently about four times as many boys receive an autism diagnosis compared to girls, and girls are more likely to be diagnosed later in life. We want to learn more about the early development and pathways to diagnosis of children living in Australia who do not receive an autism diagnosis until adolescence or later. By comparing the characteristics and experiences of boys and girls we hope to learn more about any potential sex or gender differences. This information could assist children to receive an autism diagnosis earlier in life.

Are there differences in the characteristics and behaviours of Autistic boys and girls in the early years? Could these differences account for missed or late diagnosis of girls? What could help or hinder early diagnosis of autism?

The research

This study is open to parents/carers of Autistic children or young adults (aged 12 to 25) living in Australia who received an autism diagnosis at or after age 12.

Autistic adult participants will be asked to complete an online survey about themselves and their view as to possible reasons that they were not diagnosed with autism during early childhood. The survey will take approximately 10 minutes to complete.

Parents/carer participants will be asked to complete an online survey about their child’s early development and their experiences in obtaining a diagnosis for their child. The survey will take approximately 30 minutes to complete. Parents/carers whose children were assigned female at birth will also be invited to participate in an optional follow-up interview.

Making a difference

Research findings from this study will contribute to an increased understanding of the way in which autism may present differently across sex and gender. The research will be used to inform clinical assessment practices at Aspect and results will be shared with the wider autism and research communities to increase awareness of how autism may present in young girls and boys.

Research team

Dr Vicki Gibbs, Aspect Research Centre for Autism Practice (ARCAP)

Dr Chris Edwards, ARCAP

Dr Abbey Love, ARCAP

Dr Ru Ying Cai, ARCAP

Started

2024

Ends

2025

Funding

Autism Spectrum Australia

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